I’ve tried to write this blog post a few times and it hasn’t gone well. It’s hard to find words for something that I still feel speechless about. Maybe, in true British fashion, I should start with the weather…
On Friday it was pouring; pouring in the way that only Scotland does, where the rain is coming down so hard it ricochets off every nearby surface, bouncing back at you from every possible angle. There was a nine degree difference between Devon and Edinburgh.
And I should probably talk about the Party Pavilion. It’s over in the right hand corner of Charlotte Square, home of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. You get to the Pavilion by walking through the tented entrance, along a boardwalk, past the Gin Bar-Café and Signing Tent (spotted David Walliams there!), and past the Main Theatre.
Can you tell I’m procrastinating? I was on Friday too. I walked along that boardwalk in slow motion, savouring every step. You see, I didn’t really want the Awards Ceremony to start. I wanted to stay in that lovely space of possibility. If Friday afternoon never ended then I would always be short-listed for the Kelpies Prize; an improbable but potential winner and published author.
But once inside the Pavilion everything sped up: a whirlwind of introductions, drinks, and photographs. Floris Books describe themselves as a family and it certainly felt very true that night; so many friendly, welcoming people, many of whom I recognised in name from children’s book covers. The ceremony began with author and storyteller, Janis McKay, reading out each extract. I found it a moving experience to hear each piece read aloud in that way. Then another children’s author, the wonderful Lari Don, got up on to the stage to present the award. She gave a great speech about what an achievement it was to be short-listed, and how encouraged we should all be. I took every word to heart, because I was absolutely not expecting to win. So, when she read out my name (my name!), my jaw couldn’t have hit the floor faster.
So, there you are: winner of the Kelpies Prize. And to have been short-listed alongside such great manuscripts! If you get chance do check out Celia Bryce and Robin Scott-Elliot, both excellent writers and all together fabulous people.
You can read more about the prize on the Floris Books website:
You can also read about it on The Bookseller: